November 1, 2010

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Nevada History:

 

[James F. O'Brien, Nevada's Latest Bonanza, Sunset, August 1904]

 

PROSPECTING A NEW STRIKE ON THE RED TOP, GOLDFIELD, NEVADA

Nevada's Latest Bonanza

By JAMES F. O'BRIEN

            WHEN Harry Stimler and Will Marsh failed to make their pile at Tonopah they accepted their fate with equanimity and refused to be discouraged. They were young men, natives of Nevada, and they had a "hunch" that some day they would discover a region where mines would be opened greater even than the famous Mizpah, with its $100,000,000 worth of ore blocked out and awaiting the completion of the railroad to Tonopah, which event doubtless will take place before this article appears in print.

            Getting together the usual prospector's outfit, the boys commenced the search for gold. Heading south from Tonopah, they skirted Mt. Butler and followed the road as it winds about Gold mountain, where George Kernick found the Hasbrouck mine, and sold interests in it to John McKane and Charles M. Schwab, ex-president of the United States Steel Corporation. When the summit was gained their gaze met a flat, unbroken desert, fifteen miles long and twenty wide. To the right a patch of alkali, several square miles in area, glistened brightly in the sun. To the left lay Klondike mountain, for which spot Jim Butler was headed when he made the discovery of the Mizpah.

            But straight ahead, still to the south, they saw Columbia mountain, and thither the "hunch" led their footsteps. When the mountain was reached they found it

"DIAMONDFIELD JACK" DAVIS

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GOLDFIELD, NEVADA, WHERE THERE WAS NOTHING BUT DESERT A FEW MONTHS

covered with float quartz. Some of this—a black-looking rock—they panned and found exceedingly rich in gold. But a mile away, in a natural amphitheater formed by low, flat-topped mountains, they noticed a green spot which showed where Rabbit spring bubbled forth. With plenty of grub and water close at hand, Stimler and Marsh determined to prospect for the ledge from which the rich float came.

            After a few days' work the boys uncovered a ledge which was twenty feet in width, and an average sample across a good portion assayed $60 per ton in gold. It was not equal to the Mizpah—it isn't a circumstance to finds which have since been made in the Goldfield district—but the boys thought it was well worth staying with. They located nineteen claims, and with the assistance of Harry Ramsey and others,

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AGO, AND WHERE NOW ARE LOCATED SOME OF THE RICHEST MINES IN THE WORLD

did the work and perfected the locations on all, in the meantime telling nothing of their find to outsiders. When the work was completed—in May, 1903—the news of the find was given out in Tonopah.

            And then the rush was on.

            Hundreds went out to the new El Dorado, staked claims as close as they could get to Columbia mountain—and then returned home. That is, the great majority did. But there were others. Among the few who believed, and stayed, and worked, was A. D. Myers. He and a partner, after many discouragements opened up a ledge on the Combination, fourteen feet wide, which averaged $40 to $50 per ton in gold. This was in midsummer, but neither the blazing sun nor the gold in sight prevented Myers' partner from getting "cold feet." He sold his interest for a song—and the

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song had almost as little music in it as that of the stubborn but useful burro. Myers was joined by Tom Murphy, and the good team-work of these two soon opened up another ledge—ten feet further in the tunnel—which was eight feet wide and which averaged $150 per ton.

            Then the second stampede took place. Every horse and rig in Tonopah was pressed into service, and many walked twenty-five miles over the desert sands to Goldfield. Few brought tents with them, and at night, after a weary day in the hills, they spread their blankets on the ground with the sky above for a roof, and to the music of the burro's bray and the coyote's yelp, they lay down to sleep and dream of the riches the morrow would bring forth.

            In the six months that have elapsed since that time the developments have shown even greater riches than were then dreamed of. It was at first feared that the values in the Combination ledge would decrease as depth was gained, if indeed they did not play out altogether. The reverse is true. With the exception of the first, not a carload of ore has been shipped from the Combination which ran less than $260 per ton. One went $520 to the ton, and ore that is now being sacked will run into the thousands. At one hundred and thirty-five feet in depth the ore changed from oxides to sulphides, which assures depth and permanency to the ledges. At this writing (June, 1904), the shaft is down two hundred and forty feet, the ledges are bigger, and the average values better than ever. In all, $150,000 worth (net) of ore has been carted by twenty-two-mule teams eighty miles across the desert, thence hundreds of miles to the smelters, and there are 5,000 tons of mill ore on the dump which run from $40 to $250 per ton. All this, practically, is from development work, scarcely a ton having been stoped. The mining man will not believe this—until he, as hundreds have, comes and sees for himself.

            Immediately west of the Combination is the January, one of the claims owned by the Goldfield Mining Company of Nevada. The average man could see no encouraging surface showing on the January, but John Jones—"Lucky John"—felt that a ledge could be found on the ground. Together with three others, he secured a year's lease. It was a good combination—"Lucky John" Jones, a good miner and rustler; "Shorty" Kendall, big of stature and of heart, and also lucky; L. L. Patrick, the mining engineer who first recognized the value of the Combination, and who is now one of its owners; and B. J. Reilly,

LOADING ORE AT THE COMBINATION MINE, GOLDFIELD, NEVADA.  THIS ORE IS WORTH FROM $250 TO $2,000 A TON

NEVADA'S LATEST BONANZA     309

A DESERT ROSE—LITTLE LULU FESLER, OF GOLDFIELD

a hotel man, who successfully dabbles in mining on the side.

            Two days after he started work Jones uncovered a ledge but eighteen inches under loose dirt. Shipping ore was encountered from the start (at present shipping ore in Goldfield means $100 or more per ton in value), and it has been growing better ever since. The main shaft is down two hundred and two feet, and a second one a hundred and ten feet. A cross-cut at the one hundred and twelve-foot level shows the vein to be at least seventy-two feet in width. Neither wall has yet been found and not a pound of rock has been taken from the shaft, drifts and cross-cuts of the January that doesn't contain at least good milling values in gold.

            Up to May 1st the average value of ore shipped was about $200 per ton, but of late from a rich streak three to eight feet wide, ore is being shipped averaging above $700 per ton. The January lessees have shipped $175,000 worth of ore, and there are $200,000 worth of mill ore, worth from $30 to $60 per ton, on the dump. Conservative miners estimate the amount in sight at over $1,000,000. Truly a wonderful record for four months' work!

            One-fourth mile east of the Combination lies the Jumbo, owned by C. D. Taylor, George Bernick, George McClelland and John McKane. Ore of extraordinary richness is here found within three feet of the surface. Crushing a small piece of rock and panning it leaves a mass of gold sufficient to justify the enthusiasm of the banker, the lawyer, the miner and the prospector standing near. Assays would go as high as $30,000 per ton. Several sets of lessees are sacking and shipping rich ore from the big, well-defined ledge on the Jumbo, and it will soon prove one of the greatest producers in Goldfield.

            A half mile north is the Red Top on which rich ore was recently found. The strike created great excitement and the price of stock in the company doubled in a day. The ledge is forty feet wide,

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and nearly the full width will pay handsomely to mill.

            Southeast of the Combination lies the Florence, owned by T. G. Lockhart and others. This property is being opened up by the lessees who are producing, in good quantities, such rich ore that a shotgun messenger accompanies each shipment.

            Mr. Lockhart is also the principal owner of the Saint Ives, on which rock has just been found which is as plentifully sprinkled with visible gold as is a boy's face with freckles. Some of this ore is worth six dollars to eight dollars per pound, and here again the armed guard is necessary. Smith and Kernick have the extension of this ledge in their Spearhead group, and the values are little less sensational.

            Near the town of Diamondfield, four miles northeast of the Combination, are several properties with excellent showings, the best being Keane, McMahon and Fletcher's Great Bend, Frank Ish's Black Butte, the Daisy and the Vernal groups. Diamondfield is named in honor of "Diamondfield Jack" Davis, who has had a sensational and dramatic career. He was formerly a cowboy, and two years ago was in the Idaho state penitentiary under sentence of death for the alleged murder of two sheepmen. He was thrice sentenced to be hung, reprieved twice, and finally pardoned by the governor, who said that the testimony on which he was convicted was flimsy and insufficient. Jack was one of the pioneers of the Goldfield district, and his holdings will make him a rich man.

            Space forbids extended mention of any other properties, but there are many which merit it—notably the Blue Bull, Commonwealth, Kaiser, Lone Star, Sandstorm, Adams, Goldfield-Fawn, and Uncle Sam. As a matter of fact, in a stretch of territory five miles square, there are hundreds of undeveloped claims with as good surface showing as had the bonanzas.

            Goldfield—the town—is now a city of tents, but the sound of the hammer and the boom of the blast never cease. Buildings are going up—good habitable ones—real estate is rising, lots on Main street are selling at one to two thousand

THOUSANDS OF SACKS OF ORE, WORTH FROM $200 TO $800 A TON, AWAITING SHIPMENT AT THE JANUARY MINE, LEASED BY JONES, KENDALL, REILLY AND PATRICK

TO THE CALIFORNIA POPPY       311

dollars apiece, and desirable living spots at stiff prices. There is an abundance of good water for domestic use, and ten miles away is plenty of wood. It is a high country, about the elevation of Colorado Springs (6,000 feet), and not unlike it in climate and surroundings. Low buttes rise out of the sandy plains all around, and in the distance range the eternal snow caps of the Sierra. From my cabin door the spectacle is grand and inspiring—so vast the scale of plain and mountain spreading before the eyes of the spectator.

            But you probably care little for a description of the country. It is the story of Goldfield's gold you wished to read. I have told it. If you are a mining man, you will seriously doubt the full truth of it. If you are a sensible man, you will investigate and discover that "the half has not been told."